Colombian lawmaker collects videotape of ten hostages

March 12th, 2008 - 3:28 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, March 12 (IANS) A Colombian opposition lawmaker has arrived here from Caracas to collect a videotape of 10 hostages, held by country’s largest rebel group, as proof of life, the Spanish news agency EFE reported Wednesday. “It’s a voice of hope because the most important thing is to have the parties sit down and come to an agreement (on hostage release) as soon as possible,” senator Piedad Cordoba told reporters late Tuesday, referring to the proposal of an exchange of captives for jailed guerrillas.

Cordoba had earlier worked with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to secure the release of six hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Seen along with Lt. Hernandez on the videotape were army Capt. Edgar Duarte Valero and police officer Luis Alberto Eraso Maya as well as seven other police personnel and soldiers.

In the video, the hostages thank Chavez and Cordoba for their efforts and express their support for an humanitarian accord that would include the release of the 40 hostages in exchange of the freedom of hundreds of imprisoned FARC cadres.

“I think that I have distinguished myself in this process by not speaking more than necessary and not making a show out of this because it’s something very painful for the country,” the senator said, asking reporters that she not be asked questions.

But she did call into question the veracity of the statements by FARC renegade Pablo Montoya, who said that top FARC rebel Ivan Marquez and the group’s supreme leader Marulanda could be in Colombia.

Montoya had confessed to killing top rebel Ivan Rios and handed over to Colombian authorities his severed hand, identification card and a computer as proof. He is in line to receive a $2.5 million reward for the job.

Venezuelan media reported Tuesday yet another top member of the FARC, Joaquin Gomez, was being treated at a hospital in southwestern Venezuela for wounds received during army operation.

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